Apr. 15—PORTAGE — One of the Mainline area's historic icons will soon be a memory.
Demolition crews from G&R Excavating Demolition, of Tyrone, began working this week at the former Sacred Heart of Jesus Church on Mountain Avenue in Portage.
The work comes two years after local attempts to find a new owner were halted by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.
The former Sacred Heart of Jesus Church and the former Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church on Hammer Street were merged in 1999 to create Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish.
That parish was then merged with St. Joseph Church in 2015 to create Holy Family Parish. All functions were consolidated at the former St. Joseph's Caldwell Avenue complex.
In 2017, Portage Borough Council took action to put the vacant church properties back into taxation.
At the time, Scott Morris, of Century 21, and the Rev. Paul Zomerfeld, of Holy Cross Polish National Catholic Church in Johnstown's Moxham section, told The Tribune-Democrat that the Johns-town church had made an offer on the Mountain Avenue property and that the offer was accepted by Holy Family Parish.
But the sale was never finalized by the diocese, so Holy Cross bought another vacant Portage church. In December 2019, the church relocated to the former St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, 811 Johnson Ave.